Theme parks should, as Robert said, provide free lockers near the entrance/exit to a ride which allows for a set period of storage time in line with the length of the queue.
I consider it reasonable for parks to charge for the all-day use of lockers as this is a service which people do not have to take up if they feel they're okay to carry items with them during their stay.
If parks want to make money off locker rental but still provide a reasonable quality of service to their visitors then maybe they should consider having lockers which can be rented all-day for a price whilst also offering what could be touted as 'emergency lockers' near the attractions in which loose items can be stored for a set time period.
The real problem I have, is why can't these lockers be a daily fee and given a wristband that unlocks a locker for ride use throughout the park. Hurricane Harbor has the wristband technology to open lockers without a physical key.
Of course, there are many parks, (Kings Dominion is a recent example) that has free bins. Avalanche even labels theirs with the country that is the lead car in the train.
I was told that I couldn't bring my souvenir drink bottle in the queue/ride for Terminator at SFMM. I wished I had a picture of what I saw at the entrance of the ride that day. Many guests had just set their bags and belongings down behind the columns of the ride sign. Security was collecting some items.
Six Flags is the worse offender of this. Lockers at Magic Mountain: X2, Viper, Tatsu, Terminator, Scream, Riddler, Batman.
Here's another thought. If they provide lockers at rides for safety, how about comfort? Grizzly River Rapids is the only water ride that I know of that has lockers (paid) for guests to kept their belongings dry.
That said, I think some sort of free locker system would be great. How about the type of lockers with a keypad. It is unlocked, you type in a number to lock it (you come up with your own number and hit the lock button), when you are done, you type in the same number again to unlock it. Same technology as any hotel room safe. No key or anything to carry around. Your valuables are safe for the duration of the ride.
Do you hear me Cedar Point? Millennium Force and Dragster might as well be upcharge attractions right now because guests have to pay for locker storage before they get in line. It's crappy customer service...plain and simple. Figure out a solution. Go the way of Universal, at least for those particular rides. Your guests will be much happier, or at the very least less annoyed, and I'm sure they will spend the money elsewhere in the park because it's a fantastic place.
As for Six Flags, I'm fairly sure that money talks in place of their guests for the most part. I'm afraid that this request will fall on deaf ears...at least at the moment.
On the flip side, I've seen the computerized locks on the Universal lockers fail, and I've seen grown men turn into 6 year olds when they can't get their stuff immediately. You know the kind I speak of...thes one that you just want to shoot with a tazer.
However, I think you're giving Universal too much credit. Although I love their parks, I hate their locker policy. Sure, lockers should be available for rides like Rip, Ride, Rockit, but Men in Black? My friend had a tiny camera pack about the size of my fist. It strapped around her waist like a fanny pack. It was small, secure, and wouldn't interfere with the restraints, but they STILL wouldn't let her on with it. Nor would they allow her on Mummy, which has top speeds I'd feel comfortable experiencing while dangling a handful of jewelery.
Over at Islands, it's even worse, particularly at the water rides. The limits are 30 minutes. Dudley Do-Right runs so inefficiently that even a small line generates 20 minute waits. Add to that your ride and dismount times and BOOM - you've just gotten charged extra. I've stopped bringing anything I can't fit in my pockets to that park.
When you are going to a theme park you need to prepare for where you are going. I completely understand that if you have kids that you need to pack a little heavier, but if you do not, then you need to pack ultra light.
Leave the purse, leave the water bottle, leave everything that you would need to carry in the car. Wear pants/shorts that have fastenable cargo pockets large enough to store the camera, sunglasses, or whatever else you need in the park. If there is too much, buy a hip bag that fastens well enough to you that it can be taken on a roller coaster (and you can hide it with your shirt tails).
When we went to King's Dominion a couple of weeks ago, I was carrying only, keys, sunglasses, hat, and an id and credit card for both my wife and I, all of which fit into the cargo shorts I was strategically wearing. Everything else was left in the car.
On the rides, the hat went down the front of my shirt and stuffed into my waistband to keep it from going anywhere. If we were thirsty, we got free water from the different soda stands.
The point is that you let them nickel and dime you by not being prepared. Think about where you are going and travel as light as possible. I know that in my wife's purse there are things in there that she hasn't used for YEARS, yet seems to be ok lugging it around everywhere.
Yes, it is low for the theme parks to charge for lockers that they require you to use, but you are the ones enabling them to do so. Be prepared next time and they won't soak you.
What about rain jackets? Should I be forced to pay the park for a poncho when it rains in the afternoon?
People are going to bring personal items such as these into the park, and they should. Knowing this (and parks do, BTW), parks should design ways to accommodate the safe storage of these items when they can't be taken on rides. (Or to design rides in ways that accommodate these items.)
Some parks do this. Others don't. That makes me more inclined to visit parks which do.
Most ride storage bins are clearly marked with "____Park is NOT responsible for lost / stolen items" or similar verbiage. Fair enough. If parks would give us that option, we can use our own discretion about bringing valuables into the park. Nobody is going to steal water bottles, ponchos, etc.
Wow, Robert, you sure lit a fuse with this thread!!!!
In defense of the Dark Knight (oh no!!), I did lose my wallet out of my pocket during the press event. Those seats are terrible.
Still, SFGA should offer them free especially since you can win a giant rastifarian banana right now!
In the 25+ years I've been going to parks, I've never had or seen somebody have something significant stolen out of the bins. I'm sure it happens, but the percentage has to be low. No, the park isn't legally responsible for lost or stolen goods, however that doesn't mean they don't or shouldn't care. It's not good when your customers are being robbed inside of your park, so that's why any ride crew worth its salt will organize the bins, and have one or two of their members keeping a watch on them during load in/load out.
Of course not everyone can do this, but my advice to everyone for any trip is to pack light. Get some sunscreen in the keychain bottles. Get a money clip or a thin wallet. Wear cargo shorts with large, secure pockets. Leave the bottled water at home and use the water fountain or get the free cups of water at the park. If you must have a plastic bottle of water, carry one and reuse it throughout the day. Many of the small bottles can fit in your large cargo shorts pocket. Take the camera that fits in your pocket, not the Nikon D250000 camera with 4 lenses and 3 flashes and a tripod. Do that, and you can avoid the locker fiasco altogether.
Last year in Orlando my wife and I regularly saw people forbidden from carrying a camera strapped to their wrist but allowed onto thrill rides, (looping coasters, etc), wearing sunglasses, spectacles, flip-flops, etc.... I wore my glasses once on Kraken and spent the whole ride gripping my face to stop the wretched things flying off....
We also had a problem at Universal. Great free lockers keyed to your fingerprint but when we came back off the ride the locker refused to recognise our print and would not open. We eventually summoned a Universal employee to get us into it but she would not open it unless we could provide some ID to prove who we were. The problem was all our ID was INSIDE the locker. It took us 15 minutes of pointing out the idiocy of her position before she would reunite us with our wallets, purse, sunglasses, camera... I th ink she demanded that our camera have a picture of us on it - but we tend to take pictures of the parks, not ourselves... And we weren't the only people who were havign a similar problem that day.... Technology - don't you just love it?
Anyway, one thing that SFGA does (still taking money) is allow you a locker that stuff goes in and out all day for about $14. I usually use that and only use the ride lockers for Superman.
No matter what park you go to, however, this seems to be an issue. Lockers are a lucrative thing at Disney World as well, but they hide it a little bit better for the competition.
But I think SFGA did it due to stealing
We see some people give us questionable looks when we walk around the parks with two backpacks. When it rains, though, at least we're not stuck wearing those overpriced, goofy-looking ponchos.
However, I think Disney leads the pack with their on-ride storage cases. Most thrill rides could probably implement this type of system.
And the - you can't bring the $12 soda bottle we sold you on the ride but you can store it for $1 - lead me to not buy a refillable cup this year at Six Flags. Good business move here. Just lost a $12 sale plus refills all season AND you're not getting the dollar/ride from me.
Six Flags St. Louis did make one small improvement at some point this year. They installed wooden racks that can "hold" your refillable cup and each slot is numbered. And put it by the employee standing at the queue entrance that is keeping you from taking anything else on. At least they figured out they were shooting themselves in the foot with the refillable soda cup market (which is nearly 100% profit).
But I concur - if you've eliminated on-platform storage, you have to provide a no-cost (or at least low-cost [I'd pay a quarter]) alternative.
What annoys me about some lockers is that some are 1-time use lockers.... that is rediculous. Allow me to store my belongings in a locker safely so that I can safely store them for the day and return to the locker when necessary.
Coasters are also not storage rooms. Many parks put bins at rides for a convenience or accomodations. However, if you have to wait in line for a major coaster like Top Thrill Dragster, for example, for 2+ hours on a regular day- think of how long you would have to wait if there were bins for guests to put their belongings in. People walk in the front gates and go "stupid" I say. They move slower and do not read signs. Ride attendants want to get guests on an off rides as quickly as possible to make max capacity for the ride (SAFELY, of course). If every guest in line had a bag, drink bottle, camera, cell phone etc. to store, you could probably add about 30 minutes+ per 50-100 people in line to your wait time.
It is not about ripping people off. It is a service provided. You do not have to put your things in a locker, but if you don't the amusement park is NOT LIABLE for what happens to them. So store them, or Lose them!!!
I worked in Guest Relations at a Six Flags; people are downright nasty regarding their lost things. I have had many an irate person scream at me to stop a ride because they were stupid enough to leave their hat / glasses / purse on during a looping coaster and wanted their things back. At some point, you have to save people from themselves; lockers won't be going anywhere, especially until they pay for themselves.